A contractor hired by the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen claims he was subjected to “verbally abusive, harassing and threatening” behaviour by an elected official during his time working for the local government.
Gregory David Rose filed a lawsuit this week in B.C. Supreme Court that names the RDOS and Ron Obirek, the director for Area D (Skaha East/OK Falls) as defendants and seeks unspecified damages.
Rose, a public engagement consultant, claims he entered into a contract with the RDOS on March 1 to “review, analyze and assess the needs of services” offered in Areas I and D.
The contract required him to work out of an RDOS office in Okanagan Falls, where he shared space with Obirek.
“From the first week of the contract, the defendant Obirek continuously and intentionally intervened with the plaintiff’s work including consultation with the public, such that it made it difficult to perform all of the duties required in relation to conducting the needs assessment and public engagement process,” the lawsuit claims.
“From the first week of the contract, the defendant Obirek consistently, maliciously and willfully was verbally abusive, harassing and threatening to the plaintiff.”
The lawsuit also alleges Obirek “aggressively suggested the plaintiff perform tasks outside the scope and completely unrelated to the contract.”
Rose claims he warned the RDOS on March 20 of “the aggressive harassment he had been experiencing by the defendant Obirek since the first week of the contract.” Then, on May 13, requested a copy of the RDOS harassment policy.
The lawsuit claims the RDOS, prior to entering into the contract with Rose, “was aware of the history and ongoing harassment inflicted upon RDOS staff by the defendant Obirek.”
Therefore, the RDOS is “vicariously liable for the abusive, harassing and threatening treatment of the plaintiff by the defendant Obirek,” the lawsuit states.
Rose also claims he only received “indirect notice” that the contract had been terminated.
He’s seeking damages for breach of contract, wrongful dismissal, loss of income and psychological injury.
Neither the RDOS nor Obirek, who’s a lawyer by trade, has responded to the lawsuit.
All parties declined comment Thursday.